Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

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Józef Cardinal Glemp, Primate of Poland, visited the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius on the Octave of Ascension Thursday, accompanied by the Most Rev. Andrzej Franciszek Dziuba of the Diocese of Łowicz and Canon Regis Barwig, O.S.B. of the Community of Our Lady.


Józef Glemp was born in Inowrocław to a family of German ancestry, Kazimierz Glemp and Salomei z Kośmickich, and was baptized the same day. His father had participated in the insurrection of Greater Poland from 1918 to 1919. Józef studied at the seminaries of Gniezno and Poznań, but his education was interrupted by the World War II; he and his siblings were slave laborers during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Glemp was ordained to the priesthood on 25 May 1956 by Bishop Franciszek Jedwabski.

After two years of pastoral service in Poznań, he was sent to Rome in 1958 to study canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University, earning his doctorate in utroque iure in 1964, with a thesis on: De evolutione conceptus fictionis iuris. After his practicum he was given the title of Advocate of the Roman Rota. He attended a course in stylistic Latin at the Pontifical Gregorian University and also finished his studies in ecclesial administration.

In 1964, he finished all his studies in Rome and returned to Gniezno in Poland. He became chaplain of the Dominican and Franciscan Sisters and teacher of religion in the house for delinquent minors. He worked as Secretary of the Seminary of Gniezno and as notary for the Curia and the metropolitan tribunal and also as defender of the bond.

In December 1967, he worked in the Secretariat of the Primate, and for 15 years was one of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński’s close collaborators. As the personal chaplain of the Cardinal, he accompanied him on his journeys within Poland and to Rome. He exercised varied responsibilities in the Commissions of the Polish Episcopate and taught Canon Law at the Academy of the Catholic Theology in Warsaw. He participated in several congresses on this topic in Poland and abroad. In 1972 he was named a Chaplain of His Holiness, and in March 1976 be became Canon of the Metropolitan Chapter at Gniezno.

On 4 March 1979, John Paul II named him Bishop of Warmia, in the northeast part of Poland and was consecrated on the feast of St. Adalberto, on 21 April, in Gniezno.

After the death of Cardinal Wyszyński on 18 May 1981, he was named Archbishop of Gniezno on 7 July 1981, in union “pro hac vice, ad personam” with the Archdiocese of Warsaw. As Bishop of Gniezno he became also the Primate of Poland. (The title of Primate of Poland was conferred on the Archbishop of Gniezno by Pope Martin V in 1418 and confirmed by Leo X in 1515, every Primate of Poland to the time of his election, even if he is not a cardinal, has the right to wear the red “zucchetto” of a cardinal, a privilege already accorded in 1600 and confirmed by Benedict XIV in 1749.)

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 2 February 1983. Titular Church of St. Mary in Trastevere. On 25 March 1992, with the restructuring of the Church dioceses in Poland, John Paul II dissolved the union “ad personam” of Gniezno-Warsaw, naming as Metropolitan Archbishop of Gniezno Bishop Henryk Muszynski. The Holy Father decided that the title of Primate of Poland should remain linked to the historical heritage of S. Adalberto in the Archdiocese of Gniezno and confirmed that Cardinal Józef Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw, who had custody of the relics of S. Adalberto, which were venerated in the Cathedral of Gniezno, should continue to bear the title of Primate of Poland. Later, Pope Benedict XVI stipulated that Cardinal Glemp, despite his retirement, will remain primate until his 80th birthday, when the restoration to Gniezno will take place.

Cardinal Glemp acted as President of the Episcopal Conference of Poland for 23 years, from 1981 until March 2004. He was president delegate to the 1st Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops (1991). Glemp was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Glemp was pleased to view the traditional Catholic art of St. John Cantius Church which much reminded him of his mother land. He was equally glad to see the artistic restoration going on in the chapel of the convent which, when fully restored, will be a liturgical gem, a fitting place for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.